Authors: Amy Andrews
Evie blinked as his implication became clear. Clearly no dots to worry about! ‘Don’t be ridiculous,’ she spluttered.
Finn held up a hand in surrender. ‘I really don’t care what you do, Evie, or who you do it with,’ he lied, ‘but maybe you might like to consider his wife and their newborn baby and how gossip might affect them.’
Evie was momentarily speechless. Which turned to outrage pretty quickly. She wasn’t sure if it was because of what he was suggesting or the fact that he really didn’t seem to give a fig if it was the truth or not.
That she might actually be sleeping with Marco D’Avello.
Who was married!
The lift pinged as they arrived on the third floor and the doors opened. ‘Is that what you think?’ she asked as he walked out. She stepped out too just as two nurses appeared, grabbing the lift as the doors started to shut. ‘That Marco and I are … having some kind of affair?’ she hissed as the doors shut behind them.
Finn sighed at the injury in her voice and quashed the little niggle of irritation that had pecked at his brain since he’d witnessed the canteen hand squeeze. ‘Of course not, Evie. But in this place, where gossip is a second language, you can bet that others will … that’s all I’m saying.’
Evie glared at him. Wanted to tell him he was being preposterous but she knew it to be true. How much gossip had she heard about herself over the years? In her first year it had been about what a stuck-up cow she was, breaking poor Stuart’s heart, thinking she was too good for him even though he’d broken her heart when she’d discovered he only wanted her for her family name and connections.
And in this last year or so endless reams of gossip about her and Finn.
Evie felt herself deflate like a balloon as all the fight oozed out of her. ‘Yes. People do like to talk, don’t they?’
Finn shrugged. ‘Well, they’re going to talk anyway. Best not to feed them too much ammunition—that’s my philosophy.’
Evie blinked. ‘You’ve done nothing but feed them ammunition the entire time you’ve been here. Sleeping with any pretty young thing that batted her eyelashes at you.’
Even her. Not that she’d ever batted her eyelashes.
He grinned. ‘It stopped them talking about my injury, though, didn’t it?’
Evie grinned back at his unashamed admission—she couldn’t help herself. He suddenly seemed years younger than his trademark stubbly jawline portrayed and it was rare to share such a moment with him. He was always so intense—to see him amused was breathtaking.
Suddenly Evie felt back on an even keel. Enough to begin a dialogue about the subject she’d been avoiding. ‘Do you think we can find some time this week to talk?’ she asked tentatively.
Finn felt the bubble of happiness that had percolated from nowhere burst with a resounding pop.
sounded as inviting as root-canal treatment.
He eyed her warily. ‘I don’t like to talk.’
Evie nodded. ‘I’ve noticed.’
‘Nothing’s changed just because I’m back, Evie.’
She steeled herself against the ominous warning. It would do her well to take heed.
Finn Kennedy was one hard nut to crack.
‘I know,’ she rushed to assure him. ‘It’s not about that. About us.’
Not strictly speaking anyway
She crossed her fingers behind her back. ‘It’s … something else.’ She stopped and wondered if it sounded like the complete hash it was. ‘It’s to do with work …’
. Her career was going to have to take a back seat for a while. His would be affected too if he wanted to be involved with the baby.
She watched his frown deepen. Why did she have to fall for a man who was always so suspicious? ‘Look, it’s complicated, okay? Can you just say yes? Then I’ll promise not to bother you again.’
Finn wasn’t keen on
. In his experience women’s talks involved rings and dresses and happily ever afters. But it was work related … and the payoff sounded pretty damn good to him.
Never being bothered by her again was an opportunity he couldn’t pass up.
It was a futile hope, of course, because he dreamed about her too bloody much to ever fully realise that blissful state of Evie-lessness and every time he saw her a very distinct, very unevolved, caveman urge seemed to overcome him.
But if she could do her bit then he could master the rest. He was used to it.
‘After Khalid’s discharge?’ he suggested. ‘A few days? At Pete’s?’
Evie slowly exhaled her pent-up breath. ‘Thank you.’
Finn nodded. ‘I’ll let you know.’
He didn’t wait for her to answer. Just turned away, his mind already shifting gears.
After some rhythm complications, it was Friday afternoon before Khalid was discharged to a penthouse suite at one of the city’s most luxurious hotels. It was top secret but Finn knew and Khalid had his number. Along with round-the-clock private nurses, Finn was confident the prince would have a very nice convalescence with a world-class view.
He’d seen Evie around over the intervening days—with just one VIP patient on his books, he wasn’t exactly flush with things to do. In fact, glimpses of her here, there and everywhere were driving him more than a little nutty. And always, it seemed, she was deep in conversation with Marco. By the end of the week he was starting to wonder if perhaps there
something going on with them after all.
His idleness was driving him spare—giving him too much time to think. At
it had been what he’d needed—but back in amongst the rush and hurry of
he needed to be busy. Eric, the CEO, had been the superior jerk he’d predicted and had refused to put Finn back on the surgical roster until after their VIP had been discharged.
But, as of Monday, he was back. Which would give him a lot less time to wonder about what Evie and Marco were up to.
To wonder about Evie full stop.
The prospect of
had kept her front and centre all week—with no surgery to do and just Khalid to see, there’d been nothing else to occupy his brain. He pulled his mobile phone out of his pocket as he made his way to his outpatient rooms. It was time to get it out of the way.
Check it off his list.
Start the new week with a clean slate.
And it was an opportunity to lay down some ground rules with Evie. They couldn’t go on the way they had been prior to him leaving. He was different now—his injury was healed. He didn’t need anyone’s sympathy or pity or to cover for his lapses.
If they were going to co-exist peacefully in this hospital he had to start as he meant to go on.
Evie breathed a sigh of relief as the electronic noise of the monitor grew fainter as the last patient from the pile-up on the motorway was whisked off to Theatre. They’d been frantic for hours and between the adrenaline buzz, the noise pollution and the baby dancing the rumba inside her she had a massive headache.
She could hear the soft plaintive beep of another alarm in the empty cubicle and it nibbled at her subconscious like fingernails down a chalk board. ‘Where the hell is that coming from?’ she asked irritably as her stomach growled and the baby kicked.
She looked around at the electronic gadgetry vital in a modern emergency department. The alarm wasn’t one she was familiar with as she approached the bank of monitors and pumps.
‘It’s the new CO2 monitor,’ Mia di Angelo, her ex-flatmate and fellow emergency physician, said. ‘It can’t be on charge.’
Evie scanned the machines for an unfamiliar one. She hated it when they got new equipment. It was great to keep their department up to date and stocked with the latest and greatest but it was hell assimilating all the new alarms and buttons.
When she located the unfamiliar piece of equipment with its little yellow flashing light she followed the cord at the back and noticed it trailing on the floor instead of being plugged into the power supply at the back of the cubicle. She squeezed in behind, not such an easy job any more, and the baby let her know it did not like being constricted by a swift one-two jab.
She sucked in a breath, her hand automatically going to her belly in a soothing motion as she bent over, picked up the plug from the floor and pushed it into the socket.
Instead of the instant peace she was hoping for, a loud sizzle followed by some sparks and the pungent smell of burnt electrical wiring rent the air. The point where her fingers touched the plug tingled then burned, a painful jolt cramped up her arm and knocked her backwards onto her butt.
‘Evie!’ Mia gasped rushing to her friend’s side. ‘Are you okay?’
Evie blinked, too dazed for a moment to fully understand what had happened. All she was aware of was a pain in her finger and the sudden stillness of the baby.
‘What’s wrong?’ Evie heard Luca’s voice. He was Mia’s husband and head of the department.
‘Help me get her up,’ Mia said. ‘She got an electric shock from the pump.
Evie felt arms half pulling, half guiding her into a standing position. ‘Evie, talk to me. Are you okay?’ Mia was saying, inspecting the tiny white mark on Evie’s index finger.
‘Let’s get her on a monitor,’ Luca was saying as his fingers palpated the pulse at her wrist.
Suddenly she broke out of her daze. ‘No.’
She shook her head. The baby. It was so, so still. She needed to see Marco. She had to know if the shock had affected the baby.
She had to know now
‘I’m fine,’ she assured them, breaking out of their hold. ‘Really I am.’
Mia frowned and folded her arms. ‘You just got a zap that knocked you on your butt. You should be monitored for a while.’
Evie shook her head again and forced a smile onto her face even though it felt like it was going to crack into a thousand pieces as concern for the baby skyrocketed with every single stationary second. ‘I’m fine. I’m in the middle of a hospital. If I start to feel unwell, I’ll let you know.’
Luca nodded. ‘Her pulse is steady.’
Mia grabbed Evie’s hand. ‘This could do with a burns consult in case it’s worse than it looks. It’ll definitely need dressing.’
Evie thought quickly. ‘Yes. Good idea. It’s burns clinic today, right? I’ll pop in and see if they can squeeze me in.’
‘I’ll come with you,’ Mia said.
‘Status epilepticus two minutes out,’ a nurse said to them as she dashed past.
And then the distant strains of a siren, a beautiful, beautiful siren, made itself known, and Evie had never been more grateful to hear the wretched noise.
‘You can’t,’ Evie said. ‘You’re needed here. You both are. I’ll be fine,’ she assured them again, a surge of desperation to get away, to get to Marco, making her feel impotent.
‘Okay,’ Mia acquiesced. ‘But I want to see you after you get back.’
Evie nodded. ‘Absolutely.’
By the time she scurried up to the outpatient department ten minutes later Evie was frantic. The baby hadn’t moved and an ominous black cloud hovered over her head. When she’d been hypothermic in the middle of the ocean her brain had been too sluggish to think of the implications for the baby. But today all her mental faculties were intact and totally freaking her out as all the horrible possibilities marched one by one through her mind.
She was on the verge of tears when she finally located Marco, who wasn’t in his rooms but was chatting to a midwife in the long corridor that ran behind the outpatients department.
‘Marco,’ she called.
He looked up and smiled at her, his joy quickly dying as he saw the distress on her face. He strode over to her.
‘Evie,’ he said with that lovely lilt of his, his hands grasping her upper arms, a frown marring his classically handsome face. He could see she was about to crumple and led her away from the busy thoroughfare into the nearby cleaning closet. It wasn’t very roomy and the door was chocked open but it was more private than outside. ‘What is wrong?’
‘I think the baby might be dead,’ she whispered, choking on a sob as she buried her face in his chest.
Finn scrolled through his contacts on his phone as he stepped out of the lift and headed for the outpatients department. He wanted to spend some time looking at the case notes for his theatre list on Monday. He found Evie’s number and hit the button as he entered the department.
His gaze wandered across to the corridor on the far side as he waited for her to pick up and that’s when he spotted them. Evie and Marco alone in some kind of supply cupboard—embracing. He fell back a little, shocked by the image, watching them from just outside the department as they pulled apart slightly and Evie fumbled in her scrubs pocket and pulled out her phone.
Finn didn’t say anything for a moment, trying to decide how he should play it. ‘It’s me,’ he said, watching her as she stayed in the shelter of Marco’s body, his arm around her shoulder. ‘I’m free for that talk now.’
Evie looked up at Marco as she grappled with a vortex of emotions
Now? He wanted to talk now?
‘Er … I can’t right now … I’m busy.’
Finn raised an eyebrow. Icy fingers crept around his heart and he leant against the nearby wall. ‘Emergency a little crazy at the moment?’